Marcos rejects sourcing wealth fund from GOCCs
CATHERINE S. VALENTE
The Manila Times
PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has rejected a proposal to use dividends coming from governmentowned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) to fund the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund. Speaking to reporters in Malacañang, Marcos said he agreed with lawmakers saying the use of GOCC for the proposed sovereign fund is not allowed under the law. “You cannot use funds of the GOCC. Pera ng gobyerno ‘yun (That’s government’s money). What will the government spend? It was a proposal. It’s not something that we have adopted,” he said. The President noted that all GOCCs have their own charter, and the government has to revise all of these charters to align them with the Maharlika Fund. “So I don’t think that’s a viable proposition, at least not for us. … I know that there are other sovereign wealth funds that have been in that way. But it is not appropriate for us,” the President said. The idea of using GOCC money for the proposed Maharlika Fund was first broached in Davos, Switzerland, but he was “lukewarm” about the idea after having a conversation with Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno. The House of Representatives passed House Bill 6608 or the proposed “Maharlika Investment Fund Act” on third and final reading on December 15 last year. The bill was transmitted to the Senate on December 19. Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri expects the bill establishing the Maharlika Fund to be passed by the Senate on final reading after the Holy Week in March. Marcos renewed his call for Congress to thoroughly review the proposed wealth fund, saying getting it wrong would be “a very bad mistake.” Meanwhile, he allayed fears of possible money laundering, saying while private money will be involved in the fund, it is not a savings account where people park money where it stays. “Now, whenever we come into partnership, we do [it] G2G (government-to-government), with Japan, for example, or we do a PPP (public-private partnership) with some big outfit, then that is only the time that the money [comes] into the fund to be used for [a] program,” Marcos said. “On our end, we will only deploy funds when there is a very specific project to be paid for. So money laundering just won’t come into [play],” he added.